Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is on the rise now with more people working from home. This is as a result of increased use of digital devices like the home computer, laptops, tablets, notepads, and cell phones.

What is computer vision syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged use of digital devices. Using a digital device is a visually demanding task on the eyes and increases strain on the eyes as a result of: 

  • reduced contrast sensitivity when compared to printed materials,
  • increased glare from the screen,
  • reduced blinking with near work,
  • increased focusing time with near and intermediate working distances,
  • overworking the focusing system of the eyes,
Symptoms of computer vision syndrome
Computer vision syndrome

It presents a myriad of signs and symptoms which vary in intensity from person to person. The intensity and duration of the symptoms are directly proportional to the length of screen time.

Majority of the patients I work with complain of eye discomfort. Some complain of eye fatigue, and headache (occurring more commonly at the front or sides of the head). Other symptoms include sore, burning, or itchy eyes. Dry eyes, characterized by unusual tearing, blurring, or double vision which is transient in nature. Also, there’s photophobia, which is increased light sensitivity.

The first thing to do if you have a history of prolonged exposure to digital devices or you notice any of these symptoms, is to book an appointment with your optometrist. Optometrists are registered and licensed eye doctors. You can request the practicing license of your eye care practitioner if in doubt.  Be sure to provide accurate information about your screen time during your comprehensive eye exam. This is to enable your eye doctor to assess your visual needs.

Computer vision syndrome
Eye fatique
Managing computer vision syndrome (CVS): 

Medically, there are many proven ways to prevent or manage computer vision syndrome. In our latest magazine issue, Dr Idowho lists and explains several ways to handle CVS. Download our Wellness Issue here, and get all these tips and so much more.

About the writer

Dr. Orighoye Etie Idowho is a senior Optometrist at Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara, Delta State. She aspires to make groundbreaking discoveries in refractive media research. Dr Idowho is passionate about sharing intuitive ideas, speaking at knowledge-based events, and traveling. With over ten years of professional experience, she currently oversees the activities of the optical laboratory and welfare unit of the department at the hospital.

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